The worldwide B2B eCommerce market is over 5 times larger than the B2C market, making business-to-business sales a tremendous opportunity for companies looking to increase their revenue. Of course, just as it’s crucial for any business to have a comprehensive marketing strategy in place, a lead gen strategy is a must if you want to take advantage of the growing B2B market. However, it’s important to keep in mind that not all lead generation companies are created equal – make sure the firm you use specializes in a B2B lead gen strategy and understands the differences between B2B and B2C sales.
Also, be certain that any lead generation companies you consider use up-to-date B2B prospecting tactics that work in today’s digital world; the last thing you want is to be left behind because you’re using an old-fashioned lead gen strategy.
In this article, our team of lead gen experts based in Nashville, TN will help you get started when it comes to bringing your B2B prospecting tactics into the 21st century. But first, let’s explore some pre-internet lead gen strategies.
Early B2B prospecting tactics
Over the last 250 years, the way people do business has changed drastically. Where once individuals were doing business with other individuals, the Industrial Revolution changed everything. Nowadays, businesses produce and sell goods on a massive scale, selling not only to consumers but to other businesses who are likewise producing incredible quantities of goods.
Naturally, this change in scale has had an effect on how companies marketed their products. Below are common tactics that businesses have been using as part of their lead gen strategy for generations.
Door-to-door sales has got to be the oldest form of marketing, from peddlers traveling with their carts from town to town in the middle ages, to the popular salesmen of the 1950s and 60s selling everything from encyclopedias to vacuum cleaners.
For some salespeople, there’s still nothing quite like being able to meet with your prospects face-to-face. People tend to be more willing to listen to you in person, which might be why 10% more outside sales reps attain their quotas than inside sales reps.
With the invention of the telephone in 1876, the natural step from door-to-door sales was cold calling potential buyers. And in 1878, the first official telephone directory was developed – a list of all fifty people in New Haven, CT who had a phone at the time, printed on cardboard.
The advent of the phone book signalled the birth of what is known today as telemarketing.
People love free stuff, and prospective clients are no different. Whether it’s a basket of baked goods around the holidays or an unexpected office lunch, people remember the businesses that make them feel special.
Lead generation companies learned long ago that making small investments in sweets or other gifts can go a long way towards getting someone’s attention. These small gestures oftentimes add up, earning favor above other, less personable companies.
As answering machines became popular and people stopped picking up their phones to marketers, multi-touch campaigns became a must in order for B2B lead gen services to get anywhere.
Multi-touch campaigns involve multiple calls and emails that are designed to create a sense of familiarity with a prospect and increase the chances that they’ll answer next time you reach out. And since it takes an average of eight sales touches for a prospect to agree to an initial meeting, that’s a lot of time spent calling and emailing.
Enter marketing automation
The rise of the internet meant that B2B companies were able to foster new business like never before. But B2B lead gen comes with its own set of challenges.
In today’s digital world, every business leader feels empowered to find the solutions they want when they want them. But despite today’s need for self-discovery, decision-makers can still be unaware of new solutions due to rapid innovations in today’s world. In other words, business decision-makers might not know that the solution to their problems even exists, so they don’t know to look for it.
However, many B2B buyers have an aversion to high-pressure sales tactics, and 67% of customers prefer self-service options rather than dealing with a salesperson. So B2B lead generation companies need to find alternative ways to put solutions in front of prospects.
One way B2B companies have been doing this is by using automation to reach out to highly targeted business leaders with a specific message that provides education and information so they can create more impact within their role at a company. Providing targeted messaging also ensures you reach the people most likely to buy from you, keeping you from having to worry about prospect scrubbing later.
Tips for B2B lead generation in 2022
When we work with clients, education is a large part of the B2B lead gen strategy we teach you. Below are some of the things we’ve found most helpful for those starting to learn about lead generation in today’s internet-driven landscape.
An astonishing 60% of all B2B tech buyers are millennials, meaning they’re about twice as likely to do their shopping (or at least research) online as other buyers. So now is the time to learn digital B2B lead generation strategies that will reach this younger audience.
Work to understand your prospects with buyer personas
You got into this business for a reason – there has to be something different about your business that makes you the perfect solution for certain groups of people above all others.
Using buyer personas can help you better segment your audiences and communicate to their specific set of needs and circumstances. For example, if your ideal customers are pet store owners in Nashville, TN, your marketing is going to look a little different than if you’re trying to reach an auto parts store.
The better you understand your prospects, the better you’ll be able to tell what information they’ll find most helpful when making a buying decision. Targeting your marketing efforts will also cut down on prospect scrubbing later, since you’re more likely to reach higher quality leads.
Invest in your prospects with content marketing
Content marketing ROI can be tricky to measure, since it has a snowball effect that compounds over time, but when done right it can do wonders for your brand awareness and credibility within your industry.
We believe content should be seen as part of the solution you’re offering. Think about it – if you sell a product that needs to be assembled, you wouldn’t consider not including instructions. Content marketing is the same thing. If you make the effort to create informational landing pages, blogs, white papers and more to help your audience better understand how to engage with your products and services, they’ll come to see you as an industry leader and the first place to turn to when they need a solution.
Cut out manual efforts with marketing automation
Thanks to marketing automation, your sales team doesn’t need to send hundreds of emails every week or spend the time making phone calls. Automating your marketing efforts and giving your sales team the tools to automatically send emails to prospects can save them time and energy, increasing productivity by 14.5%.
Adding a customer relationship management (CRM) system like Hubspot or Salesforce can remove even more manual labor from the equation, allowing you to save time on everything from prospect scrubbing to running targeted email campaigns.
Interested in learning more about B2B lead gen strategy?
Are you still unsure if working with a lead generation company is a good idea? No worries – we understand what a big commitment it is to put your leads in the hands of someone else. You might find our B2B lead generation helpful; it’s got a lot of useful information that details exactly what you can expect when working with us.
The folks in our Nashville, TN office will also be happy to walk you through the whole process with a discovery meeting to give you a feel for what our B2B lead gen strategy entails. Feel free to reach out any time.